by Sophie Kesteven, ABC Tropical North
While many birdwatecher enjoy capturing wildlife through their photography, Daryl Barnes prefers portraying them through poetry instead. Curious to find out more about the different types of birds visiting his North Queensland backyard, Mr Barnes decided to join a local birdwatching group. It was the same curiosity that also led Mr Barnes to illustrating local wildlife around his home in Walkerston.
“I write a lot of poetry about differnt things, but now I’m involved in the bird club I write poems about birds,” Mr Barnes, now president of BirdLife Mackay, said.
“Sometimes you will wake up at two o’clock in the morning and say ‘Oh, I’ve got to write that down, I have to make a story or make a poem out of it’. “
“There’s no formula – it just happens when it happens,”
Native plants attract birds to the backyard
Mr Barnes has a number of birds that visit his backyard.
“They can vary from time of year of course,: he said. “But generally speaking there is always a honeyeater or two, olive back sunbirds are always around and there’s a nest in the corner where they nested last year,”he said
He said the secret to attracting an array of wildlife was planting native plants.
“They flower at certain times of year…but birds are looking for food all the time and that is their main driver,” he said
The keen birdwater has witnessed more than a hundred different birds in his backyard, and has said Mackay was blessed to have such a wide variety of birds on offer.
“We have got a lot of shore birds … we have the rainforests of Eungella, so you get different species of birds there,” he said. “Then you have wetlands, bush birds and town birds as well so you have a bit of a mixture of everything in the area without having to travel lots of kilomitres.”
Communicating through tweets
While some people use bird calls to attract different species, Mr Barnes preferred to leave the birds to their own devices. He added that some people may now even used bird apps to simulate bird calls.
“But you have to use that sparingly, especially around nesting time because it can upset their procedures,” he said. “Modern technology can make birding a bit easier but you have got to be careful where or when you use it.”
Despite the progression of technology, Mr Barnes said birdwatching was still not an easy hobby to pursue.
“Generally speaking birds don’t cooporate too well,” he laughed. “They tend to want to fly when you’re trying to get them or trying to take a photo. If it was so easy you would do it once … it’s a challenging exercise and one where you’re never going to stop learning.”